The binucleate cell of Okapi and Giraffe placenta shows distinctive glycosylation compared with other ruminants: A lectin histochemical study

The placenta of ruminants contains characteristic binucleate cells (BNC) with a highly conserved glycan structure which evolved early in Ruminant phylogenesis. Giraffe and Okapi placentae also contain these cells and it is not known whether they have a similar glycan array. We have used lectin histochemistry to examine the glycosylation of these cells in these species and compare them with bovine BNC which have a typical ruminant glycan composition. Two placentae, mid and near term, from Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and two term placenta of Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) were embedded in resin and stained with a panel of 23 lectins and compared with near-term bovine (Bos taurus) placenta. Significant differences were found in the glycans of Giraffe and Okapi BNC compared with those from the bovine, with little or no expression of terminal aN-acetylgalactosamine bound by Dolichos biflorus and Vicia villosa agglutinins which instead bound to placental blood vessels. Higher levels of N-acetylglucosamine bound by Lycopersicon esculentum and Phytolacca americana agglutinins were also apparent. Some differences between Okapi and Giraffe were evident. Most N-linked glycans were similarly expressed in all three species as were fucosyl residues. Interplacentomal areas in Giraffe and Bovine showed differences from the placentomal cells though no intercotyledonary BNC were apparent in Okapi. In conclusion, Giraffidae BNC developed different glycan biosynthetic pathways following their split from the Bovidae with further differences evolving as Okapi and Giraffe diverged from each other, affecting both inter and placentomal BNC which may have different functions during development.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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